Children of Alcoholics

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 11:20 am on 24th November 2015.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Edward Timpson Edward Timpson Minister of State (Education) 11:20 am, 24th November 2015

As ever, it is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Hollobone.

I congratulate Liam Byrne on securing this important debate, and even more on the manner in which he introduced it and his courage in speaking out about his experience with his own family. It is a testament to him that his determination to give a voice to the many thousands of children who find themselves in a similar predicament has led to today’s debate—and, I am sure, to many conversations in the coming weeks and months. I read about his dad, Dermot, this morning. I listened to the right hon. Gentleman talking about his dad’s life and how he inspired him to enter the world of politics and make the world a better place. I also heard about the ongoing anguish that his father’s battle with alcoholism caused him, which will inevitably still affect him today. But there is no shame in that whatever—absolutely none.

I am really pleased that the right hon. Gentleman made the decision to speak up today and put on the record his desire to ensure that, from here on in, those children out there will feel more able to deal with the consequences of living in such a family environment. Even more important is his desire to prevent the problem from even happening in the first place. To that end, I look forward to working with him and the organisations that have helped him to prepare for this debate, so that we can take stock of both the progress that has been made and where there are shortcomings and a lack of understanding. There is sometimes a lack of encouragement to those out there who still feel very much unable to let others know of the suffering that they are having to deal with day after day.